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Posts posted by GTJ

  1. 13 hours ago, Ssolomon1956 said:

    We’d love to find another option to get to port…possibly a shuttle or charter bus. We live near Philadelphia and/or Wilmington DE area. Currently we take a train and then taxi to the port. As we are getting older it becomes harder to manage luggage etc. Does anyone know of anything?

    In prior years Greyhound Lines operated regularly scheduled service from Philadelphia to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, but that traffic withered away and eventually the service was discontinued. I know of no companies presently operating such regularly-scheduled service. There would seem to be little reason to believe that the demand for such service would have revived to any significant degree today, and I would doubt that any carrier would risk its resumption. Indeed, the exceptional proximity of the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal largely obviates the need . . . it would be more convenient and flexible to simply use an ordinary Peter Pan Bus Lines or Greyhound Lines bus from Philadelphia or Wilmington to Port Authority.


    It can be much effort to put together a chartered party to hire a charter bus to transport such a group. But certainly if you're able to get together with other people in the Philadelphia and/or Wilmington area then you could charter a bus for yourselves. If it is three couples (six individuals) then you might be able to charter a smaller minibus or van to transport yourselves, though the ride would not be as comfortable as a full-size motorcoach.


    The word "shuttle" has no well-established meaning, so you will find various companies using those words to describe whatever type of service they have to offer. Many times companies will use the term "shuttle" in its generic sense--of moving people from one place to another place--to describe their ordinary hired-car service.

  2. Given your late start, it sounds like the time you had will be about the same as what we should have. All of the tours advertise a box lunch, something not very exciting. There's always some roadside place to eat (not at the ruins, but on the way and from) that's better than a box lunch, but with many Americans likely intimidated from doing so, and more importantly the limited time available, the box lunch is probably of necessity.


    In continuing to look around, I found that Costa Maya Adventours explicitly states on its website, "DUE TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONSTRUCTION ON THE MAYAN TRAIN PROJECT, ROAD WAITS TO THIS SITE ARE LONGER THAN 60 MINUTES AND UNPLANNED. WE WILL BE SUSPENDING TOURS TO KOHUNLICH UNTIL FEB 15, 2024 (MAY BE FURTHER DELAYED IF NECESSARY)" The other tour offerings are simply not showing availability, and a previous Facebook discussion with an offeror also noted the Tren Maya construction (I had the discussion in Spanish specifically to avoid any potential misunderstandings because of language). So it sounds like one could get there, but not reliably, and no independent tour operator will risk it. I could sign up for the cruise line's tour, knowing that unforeseeable delay would not have adverse affects in returning to the vessel, but with such delays the cruise line tour might be cancelled, leaving me with no choices but for whatever might be leftover. Well, sort of. The travel agent site shows the Kohunlich excursion, but the passenger site does not. Seems like it could be that MSC Cruises doesn't know if the tour will operate. I've got a reservation with Native Choice as a contingency, but not sure if Kohunlich might be in the cards.

  3. Very helpful information. We're scheduled to be in port 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Allowing one hour on the front end to get to the assembly point, and another hour at the end, and this leaves us with 8:00 of useful in-port time. Your experience of 1:45 travel time is close to tour description of 2:00 travel time each way, and quite a bit shorter than the Google maps time estimate of 2:30. Figure about 4:00 total travel time about 4:00 for actual touring, one hour less than your RCCL time. A long trip.


    It is hot year-round. We were in that region in November-December, and it was hot then, too. As a general rule, we don't do the tours arranged by cruise lines unless the one wanted is not otherwise available. Native Choice has a good reputation, but they're not offering the trip for any upcoming vessel visits, leading me to believe that the company does not have the capacity to provide the tour. Interestingly, Shore Excursions Group is advertising a combined Dzibanché and Kohunlich tour. The individual tours are advertised as 6:00 each, and the combined tour is 7:30. Given your description of the RCCL tour, might it have gone longer than just 6:00?



  4. 3 hours ago, jean87510 said:

    This is a tour I would do through cruise ship especially with the combo Dzibanche and Kohunlich. 

    The reasoning I was given for the lack of tours to Dzibanché and Kohunlich was the disruption being caused by construction of the new Tren Maya right-of-way. Indeed, the first preview train service begins operating this coming Saturday, December 16, 2023, and continuing through February 29, 2024, between the Cancún airport and San Francisco de Campeche. That's the route through Yucatán, while the coastal route through Quintana Roo continues being constructed. Presumably, that's the expressed concern for the tour. When you traveled last July, did you notice construction disruption?


    Now while the local tour operators are not providing tours to Dzibanche and Kohunlich, I see that the cruise line, MSC Cruises, is advertising a tour to Kohunlich for $105, with the caveat "Minimum number of participants 30." Shore Excursions Group is also advertising a tour to Kohunlich, for $89, and a tour to Dzibanche, for $105. Costa Maya Cruise Excursions (Excursions International Ltd) is advertising both a tour to Kohunlich, for $75, and a tour to Dzibanche, for $75. However, I don't believe that any of these (including MSC Cruises) are the actual tour operator, but rather third parties, so I don't know whether to believe what they are advertising. Maybe they're hopeful that the tours will go, but they will have no difficulty cancelling at the last minute. Who was the tour operator, and through whom did you book, when you went last July? Have you any thoughts about the concerns I am express here?

  5. 3 hours ago, mattR said:

    Does the Denali train make a stop in Anchorage to let people off? It kind of sounds like the train that I watched a video of someone who posted where they got off in Anchorage and mentioned most people were continuing on. 

    The Princess Rail train between Denali and Whittier, known as the "Denali Express," passes through Anchorage. The train might (or might not) stop in Anchorage for the purpose of allowing Princess Rail and/or Alaska Railroad crew to board or alight the train, or to otherwise address railroad operations matters, but it is not intended to a stop at which passengers routinely board or alight. Were the train to stop in Anchorage and a passenger already on the train attempt to alight, it is unlikely that anything could be done to prevent that from happening.


    Among the reasons that passengers do not board or alight the "Denali Express" at Anchorage is that there are other trains that do transport passengers between Anchorage and each of Whittier and Denali. Already noted above is the description of the train providing passenger service between Anchorage and Whittier, the "Glacier Discovery" train (and I will further note that this train does have one bi-level car, which can be self-propelled, but it does not have a glass dome roof). In addition, on Sundays, Holland America Line charters an additional train from the Alaska Railroad to transport its passengers between Anchorage and Whittier (this is the same set of railcars chartered by Princess Cruises operating between McKinley and Whittier, the "McKinley Express," already noted above); this additional train does not operate on Saturdays, when the Royal Princess will be in port. Other trains operate between Anchorage, Denali, and Fairbanks. The "Denali Star" is an Alaska Railroad train operating between Anchorage, Denali, and Fairbanks. It utilizes bi-level cars with glass dome roof, similar to those used by Princess Rail, for its first class ("GoldStar") passengers and ordinary chair cars (plus a Vista-Dome car) for its coach ("Adventure") class passengers. The "Wilderness Express" is a Premier Alaska Tours train (used by Royal Caribbean Cruises for its passengers) operating between It utilizes bi-level cars with glass dome roof, similar to those used by Princess Rail, for its passengers. The "Wilderness Express" is combined with the "Denali Star" into a single train. The "McKinley Explorer" is a Princess Rail train operating between Anchorage and Denali. It uses bi-level cars with glass dome roof for its passengers.


    This explanation is a bit lengthy and detailed, but that's really necessary to provide the full answer to your question. To further assist, I have attached to this response a schematic map of the various rail routes in this part of Alaska. Some passengers might use one of the Anchorage trains, and spend a night or two in Anchorage, before "continuing on." This might have been the case with the video that you watched.


    The short of it is that if you're arriving into Whittier on a Princess Cruises vessel, you will need to travel beyond Anchorage to ride one of the bi-level cars with glass dome roof. The options for doing so include: (1) "Denali Express" from Whittier to Denali, accessible by booking a Princess Cruisetour, (2) "Denali Star," "Wilderness Express," or "McKinley Explorer," from Anchorage to Denali or Fairbanks after having spent a night in Anchorage, accessible by independent booking or through a Princess Cruisetour, and (3) "Coastal Classic," from Anchorage to Seward, accessible by independent booking (an Alaska Railroad train I have not otherwise mentioned here).

    Alaska Railroad Map and Service 3.pdf

  6. 13 minutes ago, ShipsandDipper said:

    A post below reports that Native Choice says they aren’t offering the Dzibanche tour for the time being because road construction makes travel times unpredictable. 

    I heard the same thing from another source. So I've arranged one of the remaining tours, with the comment that should conditions so permit, I would be wanting to change accordingly.

    • Like 1
  7. The Carnival Venezia sails from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, in midtown Manhattan, and the transportation from all three airports is focused on midtown Manhattan. All else being equal, LaGuardia Airport transportation is typically most convenient and least expensive, followed by Newark Liberty International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, respectively, but all three airports are fine. As to J.F.K., it is a slightly less convenient than the other two airports if traveling by highway (e.g., taxi, Carnival-arranged bus transfer), but just as convenient as the other two airports if using public transportation.

  8. 1 hour ago, Elaine5715 said:

    Both the Dania and Las Olas transfer stations have seen increased presence of NON bus customers loitering and pestering female bus users for smokes, spare change and sexual favors.

    Because it was specifically stated that the Tri-Rail "shares spaces with the public buses," I read the remark as establishing a correlation between, on the one hand, those public buses and, on the other hand, transients "requiring a police presence." I think that you're now saying that you were attempting to group together both Tri-Rail train passengers and Broward County Transit bus passengers in the same category of "good" people, and distinguishing that group of public transportation passengers from other people who solicit railroad and bus passengers but do not intend, themselves, to travel on public transportation. I think you can understand how the remark might have been confusing as to some of us. I still do not understand the use of the word "transient," a person stays in a place for only a short time and then moves somewhere else (as would be a cruise vessel passenger), and its relevance to the necessity of a police presence. Again, confusing without more explanation.


    Perhaps the intended thought would be more accurately stated: "There is a problem with using the Tri-Rail trains and the buses serving its stations. At Tri-Rail stations there persons who solicit passersby for cigarettes, spare change, and sexual favors. As a consequence, police officers are present at Tri-Rail stations. Look at using Brightline instead, because there is neither solicitation activity nor a police presence at Brightline stations."


    As to the substance of the advice, I don't think suggesting use of Brightline is helpful. The original poster here is destined for the Miami airport. Tri-Rail goes to the Miami airport--or at least to the Miami Intermodal Center from which the MIA Mover people mover connects to the airport--whereas Brightline does not go to the Miami airport. Instead, one would need to connect from Brightline at MiamiCentral station to the Metrorail orange line at Government Center station and travel to the same Miami Intermodal Center station that is served by Tri-Rail. Additionally, the Brightline station in Fort Lauderdale is further from Port Everglades than the Tri-Rail station. In sum, using Brightline would be less convenient, requires an additional travel leg (and yet another travel leg on weekends when the Metrorail orange line operates only as a shuttle), consumes longer travel time, and cost more, than Tri-Rail. For these reasons, use of Brightline is not a useful alternative, even if its stations are better compared to Tri-Rail stations. Tri-Rail is the best alternative for public transportation use.

  9. 16 hours ago, Elaine5715 said:

    Problem with the TriRail, is it shares spaces with the public buses. There are many transients at the TriRail/bus stations requiring a police presence. Look at using Brightline instead.   

    I am someone who regularly uses public buses. Your remark is a bit demeaning to people like me, someone who relies upon public transit. For one thing, I am not affluent enough to afford a car. I will also note that Brightline and cruise lines constitute public transportation and, by definition, transport people in transit. Cruise lines also are required to have police or security presence, mostly visible at ports and when boarding and alighting vessels. The remark comes across to me as being insensitive to others not like yourself, and I doubt that you really meant to communicate that you view yourself as superior to people like me.

    • Like 1
  10. 8 hours ago, mattR said:

    Is there private charter trains directly through the cruise ship?  I seen a video of people on a train with a Princess car that was two levels with a bubble roof.

    Yes, there is a train that Princess Cruises charters for its passengers, but not between Whittier and Anchorage. In total there are three different trains that one can travel upon from Whittier, each to a different destination and each with different types of cars. Let me expand upon that by explaining all of the passenger train services from Whittier.


    As already noted, the Alaska Railroad operates an ordinary coach train from Anchorage to Whittier and points further south, and then return. It is named "Glacier Discovery." Its schedule is as follows (not shown in this condensed schedule are the station times at Girdwood and Portage).


    Anchorage 9:45 a.m., Whittier 12:05-12:45 p.m., Spencer 1:45-1:55 p.m., Grandview 3:20 p.m.


    Grandview 3:30 p.m., Spencer 4:30-4:40 p.m., Whittier 6:05-6:45 p.m., Anchorage 9:00 p.m.


    There is an Alaska Railroad train that Princess Cruises charters for its passengers. It is a single-level train with glass dome roof. It is named "McKinley Express," and is used to transport Princess Cruises passengers between its vessels at Whittier and the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge near Talkeetna (a bus is used to shuttle passengers between the McKinley station and the lodge). Its schedule is as follows.


    Whittier 7:15 a.m., McKinley 12:40 p.m.


    McKinley 1:30 p.m., Whittier 6:35 p.m.


    There is a pair of Princess Rail trains operated by Alaska Railroad under contract. It is a bi-level train with glass dome roof. It is named "Denali Express," and is used to transport Princess Cruises passengers between its vessels at Whittier at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge (a bus is used to shuttle passengers between the Denali station and the lodge). Its schedule is as follows.


    Whittier 8:15 a.m., Denali 5:45 p.m.


    Denali 8:15 a.m., Whittier 5:35 p.m.


    Hopefully this explanation makes clear the available options. If you desire to travel on the bi-level cars with a glass dome roof from Whittier, then you would need to book one of the Princess tours that goes to Denali (but read the tour descriptions carefully as not all tours going to Denali use this particular train).



  11. 1 hour ago, screenname2004 said:

    How easy/difficult is to take Tri-Rail with luggage from FLL to MIA on a Sunday mid-morning? Our flight doesn't leave till late Sunday afternoon so there is no need for us to rush to MIA.

    It can work. It is a little clumsy because one needs to travel the five miles between the port and the Fort Lauderdale Airport station, and also use the MIA Mover between the Miami Airport station and the airport itself. But the plan is the most practicable public transportation route between the two ports. Watch the schedule because Tri-Rail operates only hourly, and it could be a bit boring if one has to wait excessively for the train. The current schedule is attached to this message.


  12. Keep in mind that all of the products mentioned in this thread are not entirely pure Mexican vanilla extract. All contain at least some vanillin and caramel to cover up the color. For example, the brand Los Cincos Soles has as its ingredients: Purified water, cane alcohol 8%, vegetable glycerin, natural vanillin, vanilla extract and natural caramel. The brand La Vencedora has as its ingredients: Extracto de ejote de vanilla en agua purificada, alcohol, vanillina, miel de maiz, color caramelo natural (yes, corn syrup!). Nearly all vanilla purchased in México contains vanillin other ingredients. But if these brands taste good, then buy them. Indeed, many people prefer entirely imitation vanilla over actual vanilla, and they benefit from a less expensive product!


    For pure Mexican vanilla extracts, it is generally best to purchase in the United States, but even there is requires careful attention to ingredients. I have generally purchased the brand Rain's Choice from the Vanilla Queen, though she is presently out of stock. Ingredients: Premium Mexican vanilla beans in water, 35% alcohol. Nielsen-Massey is another good brand with ingredients: Water, cane alcohol, cane sugar, Mexican vanilla bean extractives.

    • Like 1
  13. 3 hours ago, mattR said:

    How do you book the train from Whittier to Anchorage?

    One way of doing so is by going to the railroad's website, http://www.alaskarailroad.com, and purchasing tickets there. You can also call the railroad, (800) 544-0552, and purchase tickets over the telephone. Should you not purchase tickets in advance, then you would need to pay the fare to the conductor on board the train since there is no station with ticket sales in Whittier.


    There is a single class of service. There is no formal commentary. Just an ordinary train, not much different from a typical commuter train that many people ride to and from work each day. Two regular chair cars plus a bilevel car with café service.


    Be aware that the direct service, northward from Whittier to Anchorage, departs at 6:45 p.m., so you would like have a much longer wait in Whittier compared to using a bus transfer that leaves earlier in the day. However, do have the option of traveling from Whittier southward, and enjoying either a scenic rail trip or a tour, before the train turns around and goes northward to Anchorage. The southbound train departs Whittier at 12:45 p.m. You could travel southward to Spencer, where you could hike on your own or join the "Spence Iceberg and Placer River Float," and later board the same train northward; or remain on the train to Grandview for a scenic ride and return. These options are shown on the railroad's website, http://www.alaskarailroad.com/travel-planning/day-trips.

  14. 17 hours ago, wolfie11 said:

    [C]onsider purchasing a Princess transfer from the airport and just go back to the airport the next day.

    Why would travel from downtown Anchorage to the airport (by bus or taxi), and then transferring to a Princess-arranged bus from the airport to Whittier, be better than a bus or train direct from downtown Anchorage to Whittier? Doing so could be a good plan if staying at an airport hotel, but if staying at a downtown hotel near Whittier-bound transportation, then I imagine that returning to the airport would be both less convenient and more expensive than a direct transfer from downtown to Whittier.

  15. 8 hours ago, lx200gps said:

    As Canadians * * * the ease of driving down to Manhattan or Brooklyn will ALWAYS override the complexity, cost and impracticality of taking public transport, be it rail or air.

    It is surprising to hear that view because Canada has a higher--nearly double--per capita use of public transport than the United States. Moreover, STM-Exo-REM in Montréal has, in my opinion, the best and most used per capita public transport systems in all of Canada (yes, better than TTC-GO in Toronto or TransLink in Vancouver). The STM base fare, CAD 3.75, is slightly less than the base fare here in New York City, USD 2.90. True, for longer distances, Via Rail Canada is less than entirely satisfactory, but when I travel long-distance to or from Montréal it is almost always Amtrak's Adirondack that that easiest and most pleasant way to travel there and back. For those persons who are able to drive, New York City does provide some additional challenges and high costs not typically found in most other American cities (not to mention that driving is inherently the least safe means of travel).


    From Boston to New York, I generally find the train to be the most comfortable and convenient travel, often at a reasonable fare, with bus also worthy of consideration if the bus stops are more convenient or the fare considerably less. There are only a very few people who find driving on interstate highway 95, from Boston to New York, to be very pleasant.

    • Like 1
  16. 10 hours ago, fozzy said:

    Coming from Boston area the day before. Can't decide between the Acela train and flying.

    While between those two choices Acela train service provides a more comfortable trip. That said, if going by railroad I would likely chose Amtrak's ordinary northeast regional train service. While not quite as fast, it is usually much less expensive. Acela might be a good choice if time is at a premium, but otherwise, and particularly for a leisure trip, it is overkill. For a typical weekday in October 2024, Acela business class service is $57, while northeast region coach service is $30 daytime, $20 late night or early morning


    10 hours ago, fozzy said:

    I'm nervous about catching a taxi from Penn station nyc.

    What type of concern do you have with taxis? Too cramped? Too dirty? Too expensive? Too dangerous?

  17. 32 minutes ago, AKStafford said:

    Bear Valley Road Runner (https://www.bearvalleyroadrunner.com/ ).

    Bear Valley Road Running is more like a collective taxi than a scheduled transportation service. A little bit more difficult for planning, because of the lack of a fixed schedule, but also possibly more convenient to due to flexible stop locations and times. I prefer fixed schedules and the comfort of larger motorcoaches and railcars, but these are my personal preferences, and everyone has their own.


    34 minutes ago, AKStafford said:

    [M]y preference would be the Glacier Discovery train from the Alaska Railroad, along with a Prince William Sound glacier cruise with Philips Cruises. https://phillipscruises.com/26-glacier-cruise/

    The train offers several options beyond just a direct transfer to the cruise vessel, the glacier cruise being one of the added options. Another option, which my wife did earlier this year, is to remain on the train after the stop in Whittier, and take a scenic tour of the route to points south . . . after which the train comes back to Whittier in time to board the cruise vessel. This train route south of Whittier also provides the opportunity to do some wilderness hiking or rafting, all of which can be found on the Alaska Railroad website. My view that one is going to be on the cruise vessel for seven consecutive nights, so why bother rushing to board? Board as late as possible, and take one of these sightseeing options to enjoy this part of Alaska.

  18. 1 hour ago, gianmatt said:

    I'm on Princess.

    Princess does not have a chartered train from downtown Anchorage to Whittier. Instead, it hires that train to transport passengers from McKinley (outside Talkeetna) to Whittier. Thus, if choosing to travel by railroad, then the only train available is the one departing downtown Anchorage daily at 9:45 a.m.


    1 hour ago, gianmatt said:

    What about transport from airport to Anchorage?

    There is good public transportation from the airport to downtown Anchorage. The bus system is called "People Mover." Route 40 goes directly from the airport to downtown in about 25 minutes for a fare of $2 per person, half fare for elderly and disabled persons. Buses operate every 15 to 30 minutes, with detailed schedules and route map available here: http://www.muni.org/Departments/transit/PeopleMover/Pages/Route40Schedule.aspx. Of course, there are taxis and TNC vehicles, but not much direction is needed for using those services.


    For choosing a hotel, use of Google maps might be best for choosing a location. The transit bus to and from the airport goes to the downtown transit center located on West 6th Avenue, between G Street and H Street. The Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, the departure point for the Park Connection bus service to Whittier, is located on West 7th Avenue, between F Street and G Street. The railroad station is located on West 1st Avenue, between where D Street and E Street would intersect.

    • Like 1
  19. 28 minutes ago, gianmatt said:

    If boat leaves at 8:30, what time would you recommend getting there to board? I'm sure it takes time.

    Holland America Line requires check-in information in their records at least 90 minutes prior to sailing, but its website appears not to have a specific requirement if all the information has been provided online in advance. All of the transportation information you copied would provide adequate time for boarding timely; the Alaska Railroad excursion returning from points south would also arrive in adequate time.

  20. 3 hours ago, c-leg5 said:

    I have never taken a mainland excursion but assuming there are no recent changes from what I have seen the cruise lines always  charters a ferry that goes from the individual cruise docks. The mainland part of the tour is on chartered buses. At the end of the day the return ferry brings them back to the port. There is no transfer to the ferry pier in town.

    Given the variations between the cruise lines, I decided to take a look at a recent video showing some of the details with respect to a Tulum ruins tour operated from a Royal Caribbean International vessel. It shows RCI vessels at the International Cruise Terminal, with a chartered Winjet ferry using the adjacent ferry pier. Once in Playa del Carmen, tour participants walk from the ferry pier via Av. Benito Juárez, Calle 1 Sur bis, 10 Av. Sur, Calle 1 Sur, to a small bus terminal located between 15 Av. Sur and 20 Av. Sur, about 0.6 km (0.4 miles), a 10-minute walk. Curiously, the walk to the bus terminal is slightly longer than the walk an independent traveler would have going to the ADO Terminal Turística on 5 Av. Norte at Av. Benito Juárez. The buses are chartered from TouringCoach Expressos, a large and reliable charter company with several locations, including one in Playa del Carmen. The details for other cruise lines and vessels may vary. In sum, it can be difficult trying to disaggregate the operating details of a complete tour, in part because the tour operators want to have the flexibility to change the details in the event of changed circumstances or conditions, which them leaves those of us with an interest in logistics frustrated.



  21. 14 minutes ago, tj_shopper said:

    We will probably check all except our backpacks which holds passports, medicine, etc. Nice that we can check in like airlines. I thought we had to haul all our luggage onto the train in the car that we sit in. I'm glad we don't have to do that.

    Very wise to keep passports, medicines, cash, and other valuables with you and not be checked, just as you would do for air travel. But generally, railroad travel is better than air travel because things are more informal, the rules tend to be more flexible, and the railroad people more friendly and accommodating.


    When I travel by railroad, I usually prefer to keep my baggage with me, instead of checking it, because that allows me access to the baggage while enroute. When baggage is checked, it travels in the baggage car, which is inaccessible to passengers during the journey. But if one is traveling with **lots of baggage** then checking that baggage can certainly ease the travel.


    Checked baggage is even better when traveling on the day of the cruise vessel departure. On those days, when checking in baggage in downtown Anchorage, instead of the baggage being sent to Seward in the railroad's baggage car, it is instead sent to Seward by truck along the parallel highway, and upon arrival in Seward the baggage is loaded onto the vessel and delivered to one's stateroom. How's that for good service?!

    • Like 1
  22. 10 hours ago, Mum2Mercury said:

    What I'm still not clear on:  How do we get from the ship to the ferry?  Yeah, yeah, typically the ship shuttles you over ... but does anyone know for certain just how this works?  

    There are multiple cruise vessel docks in Cozumel. One of them, Punt Langosta, is in the center of the city, and to get to the ferry pier one walks a very short distance. That said, however, Royal Caribbean International vessels typically tie up at the International Cruise Terminal, about three miles south of the city. Persons transferring between the International Cruise Terminal and the ferry pier downtown typically travel by taxi, the fare being USD 8.00 each way (per taxi, not per person). Usually there is no shuttle provided by the cruise line. With a paid tour this transfer might be included, but you would have to look at the tour description. Where is the tour meeting point advertised to be?


    If one needs to make an individual taxi arrangement from the International Cruise Terminal to the ferry pier, and an individual ferry arrangement from the ferry pier to Playa del Carmen, then it seems to me that a "tour" from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, particularly one that also packages with it an undesired additional "attraction," would not be worthwhile. Travel by bus or collectivo from Playa del Carmen to Tulum would provide greater flexibility and value, though without the hand holding that a tour might offer.

  23. Ordinarily taxi drivers in México are not tipped at all. The fare is the total amount expected by the taxi driver. However, if taxi drivers help with baggage, then 10 to 20 pesos (fifty cents to one dollar U.S.) is sufficient. That said, however, much taxi driving in San Miguel de Cozumel, and throughout the state of Quintana Roo in general, is provided for Americans, and because Americans like to tip taxi drivers based on American standards, if you physically appear to be an American, or if you're conversing in English, then the taxi driver will expect from you an American standard tip. Fares within the city of San Miguel de Cozumel generally range from 25 to 50 pesos (less than three dollars U.S.), with higher fares to points beyond.

  24. 3 hours ago, nglenden said:

    will be in Skagway oct 6 No train tours available thru NCL either. Need to find alternative 

    The last trains of the season going to and from White Pass and Fraser operate on October 2, 2024, so that's not an option. The trains to and from Carcross cease operating even earlier, on September 14, 2024. The only railroad service operating after October 2, 2024, and through October 23, 2024, is a shortened excursion to and from Inspiration Point, a distance of 18.3 miles from Skagway. Trains will depart from Skagway on October 6, 2024, at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., returning to Skagway at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively. Round-trip excursion fare is $139 for adults, half-fare for children aged 3 through 12 years. Book directly with the White Pass and Yukon Route. http://www.wpyr.com/excursions/product/journey-to-inspiration-point

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